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The role of systems design and educational informatics in educational reform: The story of the Central Educational Center

, The Florida State University, United States

The Florida State University . Awarded


The purpose of this study was to determine the impact the use of a systems approach and educational informatics has had on a public charter high school and overall student performance. The Central Educational Center represents an ideal opportunity to conduct such a study since it was founded by Dr. Joe Harless, considered one of the forefathers of human performance technologist (HPT), to address specifically the problem of poor student preparation by the public schools to enter the work force upon leaving high school.

The study used a mixed-method approach and its results suggest the modest use of systems principles in the planning, design, and implementation of CEC. The school’s use of educational informatics or the use of information and computing technologies in learning, instruction, and improving educational performance (Levy, et al., 2003) was also examined and found to have been applied in classroom instruction and for use in administrative purposes (i.e. attendance) but not effectively utilized in the collection and use of data in measuring and attaining the school’s organizational objectives as an educational system. In addition, CEC appears to possess school dimensions consistent with successful educational reform efforts and school processes identified with positive student achievement.

A post-hoc analysis of three year’s worth of data contrasting CEC and non-CEC students suggested that CEC is having an impact on students in two primary soft-skill areas school absences and tardiness. The CEC group (n=27) showed a reduction in instances of unexcused tardiness from 10 th to 12th grade by 40% (a 5.48 average to 3.3 average, respectively) while the non-CEC group (n=27) in contrast experienced a 38% increase (a 7.0 average to a 9.3 average, respectively) in unexcused tardiness over the same time period. The mean between group differences at the 12 th grade level for unexcused tardiness of the two groups were found to be statistically significant (t(52) = -2.71, p < .001).

The implications of the study suggest that the use of systems design and educational informatics has been partially implemented at CEC leading to a positive impact on student work ethic and overall stakeholder satisfaction levels. CEC represents a positive example of how a charter school can serve as a source of collaboration and partnership between major stakeholders working towards the common goal of preparing students for future careers and postsecondary education. Furthermore, CEC appears to reflect the overall intent of career and technical education (CTE), which is to prepare students for positive and integrated career, social, and academic outcomes. CEC is currently being replicated formally in three Georgia counties and a major topic for future study is to explore to what extent this model can be replicated and generalized to other schools.


Chow, A.S.y. The role of systems design and educational informatics in educational reform: The story of the Central Educational Center. Ph.D. thesis, The Florida State University. Retrieved October 24, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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